Resolutions. Never liked ‘um. They always seem like psychological scapegoats, faux-vagaries and promises cobbled together to atone for holiday gluttony.
So no, I won’t be making any resolutions for 2015. Instead, I want to announce my two big projects for the year. Admittedly 2014 was sort of punchy and random on the blog, partly because my neurons naturally fire punchy and random, partly because in the blur of re-adjusting my life after loss, I found it difficult to look too far into the future.
But 2015 offers a fresh twelve on the Gregorian, plenty of time to plan, and a coming spring packed to the petals with potential. I’ve always worked best within the confines of a larger tasks, knowing I’m working towards some discernible end, tackling the very large by splitting it into the very small.
Nonfiction Project: Homegrew.com
My garden embodied emotional peace for me last year, and as I was planning out what I wanted to grow this year, it struck me: why not grow my own barley? I’ve already got hops in the ground, so grain seemed like a natural progression. From there I figured I might as well reclaim my own rainwater to water said crops, and it didn’t take too many logical leaps to add wrangling my own yeast strain to the list of springtime yard-jobs.
And then, if I had all four ingredients, just sitting there all nice-like, I might as well brew some beer, right?
Thus, from the verdant loamy field of my brain, Homegrew was born. I plan to grow and malt my own barley, isolate and cultivate my own wild yeast strain, collect and filter rainwater, and pluck and dry some hops all to brew a beer completely made by my hand. Nothing store bought, ingredients wise. I will not, however, be building my own tools (he says now…).
I’ve already created the site, and will track every step of my journey via categorized posts. My goal is to turn the site into a searchable archive of how I did each step, the problems I faced, and (hopefully) how I overcame them. It’s sort of like extreme homebrewing meets extreme gardening meets extreme blogging. Sort of.
Please stop by and check out the new site at: www.homegrew.com. I already added some preseason content, but new posts will start rolling in as I do research, buy seeds, etc. I may cross-post on Literature and Libation some, but for the most part, it will be all original, new content.
Fiction Project: “December, 1919”
The last Session had Alan McLeod asking what beer books we’d like to see in the coming year. While there were many excellent suggestions, one collective desire sounded a bit louder (or a bit closer to home) for me: beer fiction. I’ve written some tangentially beer-related fiction before (here, here, and here), and many other short stories inspired by beer, but they’ve always been one-offs, standalone flashes, never anything of any real substance or scale.
In 2015, I plan to remedy that. Instead of following the traditional path of writing a whole manuscript, editing it, and sending it off to collect rejections from publishers, I figured I’d do what I (like to) do best, and blog the story. Or serialize it into 52 parts. One chapter a week, every Wednesday, for a year. Around a thousand words per chapter, give or take a plot point or two.
Without having to add a “spoiler alert” tag, the story is titled, “December, 1919” and tells the story of Matthew Cooper, a young man who unexpectedly inherits his father’s brewery (and legacy) on the cusp of Prohibition in the US.
The first chapter will go up next Wednesday, January 21. I hope you’ll stop by and read a while.
Cheers, prosit, sláinte, and thanks for all the support.